Danny Leiner, the director behind stoner comedies Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and Dude, Where’s My Car?, died “after a long illness,” Ross Putman, who produced multiple films with Leiner, announced on Friday. He was 57.
“If there’s one thing I can say about Danny the professional, it’s that he refused to let us settle for anything less than our best,” Putman wrote in a note on Facebook. “He pushed us to do what he knew we were capable of. Danny the person was sardonic, sharp, and savvy, with a love for culture and comedy of all kinds. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but the world has lost a good one.”
“Danny was so sharp, so funny, and a great dinner companion,” Cho wrote. “To his friends and family, my deepest condolences.”
After graduating from SUNY Purchase in 1987, Leiner went on to make his first feature film in 1996, Layin’ Low, starring Jeremy Piven and Edie Falco. His second big-screen outing, Dude, Where’s My Car?, premiered in 2000 and went on to make $73.2 million worldwide. 2004’s Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Leiner’s seminal work, would go on to spawn two sequels.
The filmmaker also directed episodes of Felicity, Freaks and Geeks, Party of Five, Gilmore Girls, Arrested Development, The Sopranos, and The Office. He reunited with actor Seann William Scott from the Dude days for his final feature, Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach, in 2009.
Leiner’s last credited work is an episode he directed of ABC’s Selfie, which reunited him with Cho.